The Fabric Workshop and Museum Presents Jacolby Satterwhite: Room for Living September 13, 2019 – January 19, 2020

Visual Arts

The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) is pleased to present Jacolby Satterwhite: Room for Living, on view September 13, 2019 through January 19, 2020. The opening reception will be held on Friday, September 13 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.

Collaborating with FWM as an Artist-in-Residence, Jacolby Satterwhite has reimagined elements from his acclaimed digital animation work spanning nearly a decade in Room for Living, his first solo museum show. From the initial phase of his two-year residency, Satterwhite has worked with the FWM Studio team to integrate digital fabrication tools into his expanding practice, bringing animations to life in physical form. Building upon the scenes and motifs featured in two groundbreaking series—Reifying Desire (2011-2014) and Birds in Paradise (2017-2019)—the exhibition will feature multi-media installations, new video works, and a virtual reality experience.

In Satterwhite’s animated videos, human avatars interact with 3D models in an amorphous, liberated realm; neither time, space, scale, nor societal normativity limit the expression of his characters or architecture. Over the past decade, his videos have also referenced the works of his late mother, Patricia Satterwhite, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia when her son was in middle school and prolific in the creation of inventive drawings intended to solve problems both mysterious and mundane. Reifying Desire, an opus-scale series of six videos combining the artist’s interest in the histories of art, dance, queer theory, and American material culture, often featured his mother’s drawings as three dimensional digital objects. More recently, Birds in Paradise incorporated audio tracks made from a cappella recordings written and sung by Ms. Satterwhite. In Room for Living, the artist continues this collaboration with his mother and pays homage to a lifetime of ingenuity by realizing her designs as physical objects.

Iconic scenes from the Reifying Desire series will take three-dimensional form on one floor of the museum as physical objects constructed by the FWM Studio. Employing cutting edge techniques in digital fabrication—such as 3D printing and CNC machining—these objects will be integrated into five multi-media installations featuring elements from Satterwhite’s videos at various scales, from three-inch miniatures to figures standing over seven feet tall. His allusions to Modern and Renaissance painting will also be present, as seen in the seven-foot tall figures composed in one installation to reference The Incredulity of Saint Thomas by Caravaggio (1601-2). In another, the artist has positioned five female figures to resemble the protagonists in Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907).

On another floor, Satterwhite will present a new video marking the continuation of ideas introduced in Reifying Desire and Birds in Paradise, accompanied by a virtual reality component. As FWM Executive Director Susan L. Talbott stated, “Room for Living marks an exciting step forward for Jacolby Satterwhite and The Fabric Workshop and Museum, inviting us to experience his work in various dimensions while premiering our first virtual reality experience in the institution’s 42-year history.” Providing an opportunity to digitally enter the artist’s world and explore it in 360 degrees, visitors will be guided by a soundtrack poignantly interwoven with the transformed voice of the artist’s mother.

Support for Jacolby Satterwhite: Room for Living is provided by The Joy of Giving Something, Inc., The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The National Endowment for the Arts, Budmen Industries, and The Sachs Program for Arts Innovation, University of Pennsylvania.

About the Artist

Jacolby Satterwhite (b. 1986, South Carolina) is a Brooklyn-based visual and conceptual artist whose interdisciplinary practice includes video, performance, 3D animation, fiber, and printmaking. Drawing from an extensive set of references—queer theory, modernism, video game history, and personal mythology—he synthesizes multiple disciplines in immersive installations. Satterwhite employs virtual reality (VR) and digital media to produce intricately detailed animations and live action video of real and imagined worlds populated by avatars. Satterwhite holds a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art and an MFA from the University of Pennsylvania. He is represented by Mitchell, Innes and Nash in New York; Morán Morán in Los Angeles; and Lundgren Gallery in Mallorca, Spain. His work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art (New York), The Whitney Museum of American Art, and Studio Museum in Harlem, among others. He received the USA (United States Artists) Francie Bishop Good & David Horvitz Fellowship in 2016.

About the Fabric Workshop and Museum

Founded in 1977, FWM both makes and presents, encouraging artists to experiment with new materials and new media in a veritable living laboratory. Through its renowned Artist-in-Residence (AIR) Program, FWM collaborates with artists to expand their practices, while documenting the course of artistic production from inspiration to realization. FWM presents large scale exhibitions, installations, and performative work, utilizing innovative fiber and other media. Today, FWM is the only US institution devoted to creating work in textile and new media in collaboration with some of the most significant artists of our time.

Major support of FWM is provided by the Marion Boulton “Kippy” Stroud Foundation. FWM receives state art funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Additional support is provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, The Philadelphia Cultural Fund, Agnes Gund, and the Board of Directors and Members of The Fabric Workshop and Museum.

Contact: David Simantov